The Mt. Baker Wilderness is 117,900 acres, created as part of the Washington State Wilderness Act of 1984. Mt. Baker is an active glacier covered volcano in the Cascades standing at 10,778 feet, making it the fourth highest summit in Washington and the dominant attraction of this wilderness. Thirteen glaciers cover the mountain and shares the landscape with other popular climbing destinations: Twin Sister Range, Tomyhoi Peak, and Ruth Mountain. It is accessible by more than 50 miles of trail. The Mt. Baker Wilderness borders the North Cascades National Park on the east and the Canadian border on the north. Mt. Baker National Recreation Area encompasses the southern slope of Mt. Baker. The designated wilderness area is located on the western slopes of the Cascades and shares about 20 miles of border with the national park. Here, high-elevation lakes and tarns dot the region, surrounded by natural alpine meadows and rocky peaks rising to elevations of 6,000 to 8,000 feet. Mt. Baker towers thousands of feet above the rest. Forests of Douglas fir, true fir, cedar, western hemlock and mountain hemlock carpet lower elevations. More than 16 square miles of glaciers carve and reshape the land, with the resulting ridges of jagged stone dissected by a web of frigid rivers and streams that comprise the Nooksack and Skagit river systems, the area's two major drainages. This harsh landscape attracts extreme weather: Mt. Baker Ski Area recorded the world-record snowfall of 1,140'' during the 1998-99 winter. Precipitation on the top of Mt. Baker sometimes reaches 150 inches a year. Many of the drainage's open into heather-filled meadows showcasing summer alpine wildflowers, huckleberries and blueberries. You may find Devil's club, salmonberry, skunk cabbage and ferns lining the banks of creeks and rivers. Black bears, black-tailed deer and mountain goats in the rocky high country are the wildlife you may encounter. Mountain climbers visit Mt. Baker in spring and summer before fall opens numerous large crevasses. Hundreds of climbers may be seen on the mountain in a single day. The Heliotrope Ridge Trail #677 winds 2.7 miles to the Coleman Glacier, the most popular climbing route on the mountain. A well-developed and very busy trail system provides access to the lower country.
Easy approach via Heliotrope Ridge Trail. Easton glacier is much more exposed than Coleman, no dangerous snow bridges to be found along the route, crevasses are all pretty obvious. This is the best route for the late season. Water is plentiful right near the hogsback bivy sites.
Definitely a beautiful hike, but get ready for a 12 mile drive up a pothole covered road that'll take you anywhere between 1 hour or longer. If you have a sturdy 4×4 vehicle you should do just fine. It was a very gorgeous day when we went so the views were stunning. I was a bit upset I didn't see many wild flowers since a lot appeared to be dried out, but the view of Baker is absolutely amazing. Took us about 7.5 miles roundtrip to do this hike according to my fitbit. I saw reviews that said the trail was very buggy, but it's just flies. I was lucky enough to not experience mosquitos on the trip.
Starts with a 12 mile drive up a road that is truly pot hole covered. If you are not in an ATV, then count on 45-55 min to go that 12 miles. Started up the trail and so glad to have bug spray. There are a ton of bugs on this hike. Having the bug spray made all the difference. Don't do this hike without it.
It's a small challenge first couple miles that are mostly up. Once you get done that, you hike the ridge line with stunning views!! Truly worth the climb and the bugs. Mt Baker looked amazing on the bright blue sky. This is a must do hike if you like incredible views.
Great 360 views for not a long hike! Pretty shaded for the first mile and then pretty open meadows for the last. Took the gradual way up and the scramble down (much shorter and really not that difficult). Bugs at the top were pretty bad. Blue lake was a good detour at the end for the puppies to cool off.
This was a fairly easy scenic hike. The weather was perfect and the trail traffic light. The narrow trail runs along the side of a ridge so bears paying careful attention where you are walking. At Artist's point, it opens up to a panoramic view of Mount Baker and surrounding valleys and mountains that is breathtaking. I felt as though I had just stepped out of a picture perfect postcard.
Four stars only because it's pretty steep at the beginning and can be buggy. But SO worth it. Once you get above the trees the views are magnificent. The trail continues over a saddle once you've reached the "Wish You Were Here" point, and I didn't think it was worth the extra. There are toilets at the trail head but NO WATER on the trail. Get there early as parking is limited.